During the COVID-19 crisis, several industries have been deemed as “essential” to the survival of our communities. Marked as such, the financial services industry has revolutionized the way in which it has adopted technology to continue to service and communicate to its customers. This is a necessary (but formidable) task to ensure the success of our economy as we emerge from our homes.
The Value of the Digital Transformation in Financial Services
Even before 2020, financial institutions adopted new technology to modernize their communication with customers. But with consumers increasing their app usage by 20% during this time of disruption, cultivating a great online customer experience has moved from a luxury to a necessity in today’s world.
Naturally, digital transformation strengthens brand communities as apps and social media allow customers to interact with their financial professionals from anywhere in the world. And with generational wealth transitioning into the hands of millennials and Gen Z, meeting them on their (digital) turf is more important than ever before.
From 2011 to 2017, Accenture research showed that digitally-focused banks saw the gap between revenue and cost more than double that of their outmoded counterparts. This revenue growth can be attributed in large part to providing a great digital experience, resulting in satisfied customers who become brand advocates and spread the word to their families, friends, and to the thousands of strangers reading their online reviews and social media posts.
With millennials set to inherit $68 trillion from their Baby Boomer parents in the coming years, being visible with a positive online reputation, staying top-of-mind with social media, and developing a local SEO strategy is critical to catch the younger generation’s eye (and assets).
Using Online Reputation Management to Acquire and Retain Customers
To optimize spend, acquire younger customers, build trust, and enable effective customer service, financial institutions should mobilize their customer base by gathering client feedback, encouraging referrals, asking for reviews, and increasing community outreach. Public posts by customers in the form of Google or Yelp reviews can immediately improve a business’ SEO and search ranking.
Therefore, customer feedback, public reviews, and “shares” on social media are among the most cost-effective solutions for customer acquisition in banking, lending, wealth management, or insurance.
When the average star rating of financial services as a whole is 4.06 out of 5 stars, there is minimal risk, and in fact, likely maximum reward in analyzing and publicizing customer feedback. When done manually, this process can eat away at valuable time, but utilizing specific reputation management platforms like ReviewTrackers and social media management software like Hootsuite can speed up and even automate this process.
Translating the customer experience into reviews can have many benefits ranging from better SEO, qualified lead generation, and an improved client experience. With reputation management solutions, financial institutions can isolate customer experience insights through client feedback to fuel intelligent business decision-making. This can be done for all feedback or limited to app reviews, but is a powerful tool that should not be overlooked.
When community banks are going up against the largest institutions, it is critical to stay up to date on the online and in-person customer experience to win business.
When compliance comes into question, utilizing reputation management technology and effective social media strategies enables financial organizations to address compliance standards from the top-down. In addition to granting corporate marketing teams peace of mind, this gives individual agents and advisors the autonomy to post pre-approved social media content and review responses to further engage potential and current clients.
The Long-Term Effects of Digital Innovation in Finance
The digital transformation in financial services has allowed institutions to protect themselves against environmental factors well beyond their control while strengthening their existing communities and bringing in new (and younger) business.
The general population has adopted technology as an integral part of their lives. If financial institutions choose to leverage online activity by responding to reviews, engaging with customers on social media, and proactively listening to consumer needs, they can grow their customer base through improved online experiences and rebuild trust in an industry that has seen a reputational deficit in just that.